Calle ocho Festival
Little Havana Calle Ocho Festival
Miami Calle Ocho Festival 2012
Also known as “El Festival de la Calle Ocho,” the Calle Ocho Festival is a one day celebration of “rumba” that takes place at the end of the Carnaval Miami. In 2012, the festival occurs on March 13 in its traditional location between 27th Ave and 4th Ave along SW 8th Street.
According to estimates, more than one million people crowd into the Little Havana enclave to enjoy food, music, dance and entertainment. About 20 stages are set up at the neighborhood’s intersections offering a variety of Latin and Caribbean music including salsa and meringue. In 1998, dancers at the fiesta broke the world’s record for the longest conga line with more than 119,000 people participating.
History of the Calle Ocho Festival
The Little Havana neighborhood has its origins in Cuban refugees that began settling the area around 8th Street (Calle Ocho) to escape turmoil in their homeland in the 1960s. The Mariel boatlift of 1980 further enlarged the area’s Cuban population.
Little Havana is one of the best Miami shopping spots to find Cuban and Latino products and food, and the festival is the showcase of Hispanic culture in Miami-Dade County.
Cuban food at the Calle Ocho Festival
Food kiosks are located at numerous spots and many will offer free samples to party-goers. Among some of the other popular offerings are ceviche (seafood), arepas, chorizos, tacos, tamales, ropa vieja con plátanos (shredded skirt steak with plantains), cabrito (baby goat) and many other Latin dishes from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and other Spanish-speaking areas.
Popular drinks include café con leche (coffee with milk) and Cuba Libre, a mixture of rum and coke garnished with lime. The Mojito Cubano is another popular drink made of Bacardi Cuba white rum, lemon and mint.
Entertainment at the Calle Ocho Festival
Remember that Latinos from the Caribbean are accustomed to dancing uninhibited in the street so be ready to “get your groove on.” The Calle Ocho Festival conga lines are one-of-a-kind and participants have great fun marching and dancing down the streets of Little Havana. If you enjoy salsa, then you will delight in finding dancers from the major salsa schools performing on the stages and streets during the fiesta.
You can also find plenty of activities for kids at the Calle Ocho with booths and stages featuring clowns, magicians, and special foods and products for children.
Some of other the events associated with the fiesta are the cooking contest and the Miss Carnaval Miami contest.
Getting more information
You can also visit the Convention & Visitors Bureau website at http://www.miamiandbeaches.com/Index.asp to find a wide range of online resources for those planning to visit Miami and to attend the fiesta.
The Calle Ocho Festival offers food, music, dance, fun, and insight into Cuban, Caribbean and Latin culture. In addition, you can enjoy the fiesta while also partaking of the many other attractions and events offered in the Greater Miami area.
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